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Zak releases dinnerware featuring latest Disney Jr. stars

BY Jason Owen

SPOKANE, Wash. — Zak Designs on Tuesday announced the latest product license for its line of dinnerware for kids.

Zak is releasing two lines of mealtime products featuring characters from two Disney Junior animated shows: "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" and "Doc McStuffins."

"Doc McStuffins" is a series featuring six-year-old Doc McStuffins who heals the toys that visit her backyard clinic. The show stresses the importance of empathy, taking care of those in need and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" is a music-filled interactive treasure hunt following a crew of kid pirates through their Never Land adventures as they try to outwit the infamous Captain Hook and Mr. Smee.

Chracters from both shows are featured on a variety of Zak products including standard and divided plates as well as bowls, flatware and an 8 oz. juice tumbler. Both lines also include a 17 oz. lenticular tumbler with 3-D graphics and Zak’s new 11 oz. Loopity Loop tumbler with a wrap-around straw on the top so kids can watch the liquid flow through.


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Jean Coutu Group sells 72.5 million shares of Rite Aid stock

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The Jean Coutu Group sold 72.5 million of its 178.4 million shares of Rite Aid stock, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday and company announcement Tuesday.

The Canadian retail pharmacy group said it sold the shares for $158.5 million and would record a gain of $49.7 million in its net profit during first quarter 2014. The sale brings Jean Coutu’s stake in Rite Aid down to 11.7%, the company said.

The Canadian retail pharmacy group previously announced in July 2012 the sale of 56 million of its 234.4 million Rite Aid shares for $83.6 million, or $1.51 per share, which at the time reduced its stake in the company to 19.85%. The Camp Hill, Pa.-based retail pharmacy chain’s stock was trading at $2.25 Tuesday afternoon, after opening at $2.25.

Rite Aid announced last Thursday that it had made a $118.1 million profit in fourth quarter 2013 and a $123.1 million profit for the fiscal year, sending the stock soaring from $1.98 Thursday morning to a high of $2.33 Friday.

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Keys to a successful 2013 flu season: Planning starts now

BY Mike Carmody

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. It signals the end of many things and the start of others. Winter becomes spring. Flowers bloom. March Madness wraps up and The Masters’ tee off. Flu season transforms into flu season. Skiing and snowboarding melt into surfing and kayaking.

Wait, what? Flu season transforms into flu season?

Yes, it is true. The golden times of yesteryear when flu season ended in March and started again in September are no longer. Those circa 2008 days have gone the way of paper billing claims. In today’s world, April is the time to begin preparations for the wave of patients who will start visiting pharmacies as early as August to be immunized. On the heels of a severe flu season, past trends suggest the demand for flu shots this year will be tremendous. Since the H1N1 epidemic of 2009, we have seen a proliferation of pharmacies begin electronically billing vaccination claims to commercial payers as a medical benefit. Today it’s not uncommon to see a pharmacy touting “Most Insurances Accepted,” thereby attracting additional customers with convenience and the lack of copay fees. Commercial payers are now accustomed to contracting with pharmacies and have gone as far as educating their members that the pharmacy is a convenient location to receive vaccinations.

According to the CDC, less than half of children and adults in the U.S. received a vaccine by mid-November of 2012. Also, less than 20% of adults immunized received their vaccine at the pharmacy. These statistics demonstrate just how much opportunity there is for continued growth for our industry in the delivery of vaccines.

The key to having a successful flu season in 2013 begins with outreach to national and regional commercial payers now to kickoff the contracting process. By contracting with commercial payers, the claims billing solution enables your pharmacy to submit medical claims for vaccinations electronically to major commercial medical insurance payers in NCPDP format using the existing pharmacy management system. With this specialized processing solution, claims are subjected in real-time to eligibility and plan formulary based edits. Claims are then forwarded to the appropriate payers for adjudication and payments are delivered directly to the pharmacy. Connecting with the payers that offer coverage in your locality now, will allow plenty of time for implementation prior to the upcoming flu season. And when meeting with the commercial payer, it is helpful to compile your store inclusion list, billing tax identification numbers, billing national provider identifier numbers and pay-to-addresses in advance. This will allow for a clean enrollment, which is paramount to a successful vaccination program.

Once contracted, there are a number of resources you can utilize to guide you through the process including billing agents and dedicated customer service representatives with the commercial payer. Be sure to request a list of these key contacts for your staff as you begin implementation. By completing this work during April and May, you can greatly increase the likelihood of success in time for football season!


Mike Carmody
Director of DME/MedRx pharmacy services at Emdeon
Mike Carmody is the director of DME/MedRx pharmacy services at Emdeon. He is responsible for pharmacy solution product development and workflow efficiencies. Emdeon is a leading provider of revenue and payment cycle management and clinical information exchange solutions, connecting payers, providers and patients in the U.S. healthcare system.

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